Venice, Italy

by | Jul 4, 2018

DANI CIUCA
I don’t know if there are any cities in the world as fascinating as “The floating city” of Venice. This city built on 118 islands in the middle of the Venetian Lagoon at the head of the Adriatic Sea in Northern Italy, is for travelers who have visited Venice and for those who have yet to go, a beautiful mystery. 
The ‘Floating City’ name is due to the fact that the city of Venice consists of 118 small islands connected by numerous canals and bridges. Yet, the buildings in Venice were not built directly on the islands. Instead, they were built upon wooden platforms that were supported by wooden stakes driven into the ground.

VENETIAN CANALS

The use of wood as a supporting structure may seem as a surprise, since wood is relatively less durable than stone or metal. The secret to the longevity of Venice’s wooden foundation is the fact that they are submerged underwater. The decay of wood is caused by microorganisms, such as fungi and bacteria. As the wooden support in Venice is submerged underwater, they are not exposed to oxygen, one of the elements needed by microorganisms to survive. In addition, the constant flow of salt water around and through the wood petrifies the wood over time, turning the wood into a hardened stone-like structure.

Thinking of Venice can not imagine it without the symbol that distinguishes it: the Gondola. Of all the differing watercrafts in Venice, the gondola is the most well-known. It is an ancient row boat, evolving over the last 1,000 years to become the sleek, graceful shape you see today. Its unique, asymmetrical design allows just one oarsman to navigate the narrow Venetian waterways using a single oar. Modern gondolas are handmade but highly uniform. They all weigh 700kg, have 280 component pieces and use eight types of wood – oak, elm, lime, larch, fir, cherry, walnut, and mahogany. It is estimated that there were between 8,000 and 10,000 gondolas during the 17th and 18th centuries. There are just over four hundred in service today, almost all of them used to carry tourists on canal rides.

The Bridge of Sighs is one of the most visited spots in Venice. Stretching high above the canal, it is generally known as one of the finest examples of bridge architecture in the world. The Bridge of Sighs is of baroque style, drawn by the architect A. Contino. It took about two years to complete, with construction starting in 1600.
It is the only covered bridge in Venice. And entirely closed: windows are narrow and let very little light pass through their stony wire netting, where from they can catch a glimpse of San Giorgio and the Lagoon.

As you ride the gondola through Venice’s world-famous Grand Canal, you will find yourself among entirely historic architecture, until they reach Venice’s Ca’Sagredo Hotel. Here, a brand new art installation hugs the 14th century walls, addressing a modern problem faced by a centuries-old city. According to some scientists, the Mediterranean Sea is set to rise by 1.5m by the end of the century, meaning the Floating City could be almost entirely submerged by as early as 2100.
The art installation, called “Support,” created by artist Lorenzo Quinn, the son of actor Antony Quinn, is a pair of 2200kg white hands, finished with creases, fingernails, and other fine details. The human hands appear to prop up the historic hotel from falling into the water, symbolizing the threat that climate change has on history, but also the power that mankind has to stop it.

PONTE CHIODO

This is Ponte Chiodo, the only bridge left in Venice that hasn’t got banisters: originally all the bridges of the city appeared like this one. It was decided relatively recently to equip existing bridges with railings (in venetian “spallette”) to increase the safety of pedestrians. The name “3749 Ponte Chiodo” is due to the bridge which characterizes its main entrance. “Chiodo” means nail and Nail was the surname of the noble family which owned the bridge in the past.

                                      PONTE CHIODO

This is Ponte Chiodo, the only bridge left in Venice that hasn’t got banisters: originally all the bridges of the city appeared like this one. It was decided relatively recently to equip existing bridges with railings (in venetian “spallette”) to increase the safety of pedestrians. The name “3749 Ponte Chiodo” is due to the bridge which characterizes its main entrance. “Chiodo” means nail and Nail was the surname of the noble family which owned the bridge in the past.

When I travel, I always love to visit new places, other than the popular main attractions.
In Venice, I found out about the Scala Contarini del bovolo. The Gothic Palace, famous for its spiral staircase that can be admired by everyone it’s part of those treasures of the city hidden in some narrow alleys. It is situated in the “Corte dei Risi” (also known as Bovolo) close to Campo Manin in Saint Mark’s District.
“Bovolo” means literally “snail”, and the name derives from the singular shape of the stairs. The Palace was built by Family Contarini at the end of ‘400. In 1499 on the side of the internal court, the loggias opened with round arches on the lower side and lowered on top were added, in Renaissance style.

You can’t visit Venice without visiting Piazza San Marco and Basilica San Marco. From the upper floor outside balcony of the Basilica, you can see this gorgeous view of one side of the Dodge’s Palace and the columns of Saint Mark and Saint Theodore.

When you visit Venice I reccomend you to take a evening/night walk on the streets along the many canals. The moon and the stars along with the street lights, the calm water on the canals and the peaceful side streets will give you a totally different perspective of this amazing city.

When you go to Venice, don’t miss the chance to see the Burano island. Burano is one of the most colorful places I have seen! It takes about 45 minutes to get from Venice to Burano by boat.

Besides the colorful houses, one of the symbols of Burano island is the leaning tower of St. Martin’s Church, built in the sixteenth century. The height of the Burano’s tower is 53 meters and it stands on a base with a side of 6.20 meters. Because of land subsidence it is inclined of 1.83 meters respect to its axis.

I visited Venice 4 times until now and I still want to go back and rediscover its beauties. If you haven’t been there yet, you should really put it on you top of the list of places to see. I reccomend to avoid it in the summer due to hot temperatures and crowded season. Any other time of the year it is perfect!

I visited Venice 4 times until now and I still want to go back and rediscover its beauties. If you haven’t been there yet, you should really put it on you top of the list of places to see. I reccomend to avoid it in the summer due to hot temperatures and crowded season. Any other time of the year it is perfect!

When you go to Venice, don’t miss the chance to see the Burano island. Burano is one of the most colorful places I have seen! It takes about 45 minutes to get from Venice to Burano by boat.

Besides the colorful houses, one of the symbols of Burano island is the leaning tower of St. Martin’s Church, built in the sixteenth century. The height of the Burano’s tower is 53 meters and it stands on a base with a side of 6.20 meters. Because of land subsidence it is inclined of 1.83 meters respect to its axis.

Not to miss.

1. Basilica San Marco and Campanile di San Marco (The church bell tower);

While the entrance in the Basilica is free, if you want to see the St. Mark’s Museum, you will have to pay a 5 Euro ticket. From the museum you can go to the the balcony which will give you the opportunity to have a close-up look at some of the outside mosaics and have a great view over Piazza San Marco. If you love top views, you can’t miss to climb in the 99 metres bell tower. St Mark’s Campanile offers the best view over the city and its lagoon, especially at sunset!

2. The Doge’s Palace;

Doge’s Palace (Italian Palazzo Ducale) was the official residence in Venice of the doges, who were the elected leaders of the former Venetian republic. Its impressive structure, built around a courtyard and richly decorated, was the meeting place of the governing councils and ministries of the republic. In its successive rebuildings, the palace incorporated characteristics of Gothic, Moorish, and Renaissance architecture.

3. A ride with a gondola;

Thinking of Venice can not imagine it without the symbol that distinguishes it: the Gondola. The price of gondolas in Venice is officially determined. Until 7 pm you pay 80 euros for the first 40 minutes and for an additional 20 minutes you pay 40 euros extra. After 7:00 pm a 40-minute cruise will cost you 100 euros and another 50 euros will be charged per extra 20 minutes.  If you travel alone or with two, it might be interesting to know that there are shared gondolas as well. If you don’t want to get on a private gondola in Venice, you can share the boat with other people. This will save you a lot of money, because for 30 minutes you only pay €30 per person.

4. Scala Contarini del Bovolo;

The Gothic Palace, famous for its spiral staircase that can be admired by everyone it’s part of those treasures of the city hidden in some narrow alleys. It is situated in the “Corte dei Risi” (also known as Bovolo) close to Campo Manin in Saint Mark’s District.

5. Fondaco dei Tedeschi;

A visit to the Rooftop Terrace of Fondaco dei Tedeschi – the newest shopping center in Venice will give you an overwhelming peerless views of the Grand Canal. The Terrace is opened until around 7 p.m. (depending on the season).

6. Murano & Burano Islands;

I highly recommend at least a half-day trip to the colorful islands Murano and Burano. In Murano you can discover the worldwide famed Murano glass products. You can go straight to a glassblower’s workshop for an authentic, behind-the-scenes look at a Murano glassmaker in action. You’ll learn how finished glass is carefully prepared and made. Watch the silica sand turn to glass, discover how the bright colors (typical of Murano glass) are achieved and hear all the highs and lows of working as a glassblower in Murano.

Known for its fine handmade lace, fishing, and colorful houses painted in bright colors, Burano could be the most colorful island in the in the world. This quiet island streets look like a rainbow. If you add to that the green calm water on the canals, that offer a perfect reflection of the colorful houses, you can call Burano a photographer’s dream come true. For me, the best moment of the day spent there was at sunset. If you love sunsets, the ones in Burano will offer you a unforgettable experience!

One vaporetto line runs from Venice to Murano and Burano: The 12., It takes about 45 minutes.

How to get there.

By plane:

The closest airport to Venice Marco Polo Airport, in the northern Venice’s suburb, Mestre. From the Airport to Piazzale Roma (around 20 minutes ride), you can get a shuttle bus or public bus (both now 6€). The second closest airport to Venice is Sant’Angelo Airport in Treviso. From the Airport to Piazzale Roma, there is an eurobus service (ATVO) that connects this city to Piazzale Roma and Mestre railway station. These buses operate several times in a day in coincidence with flights. ATVO buses require 70 minutes to cover the distance between TSF and Venice’s Piazzale Roma. The ticket from is 12€ one-way or 22€ roundtrip.

 

By train:

Many domestic and international trains discharge passengers at the Venezia Santa Lucia Station. This station is located within the lagoon, and it is the terminal of most trains that come from the rest of Italy and other European cities. The station is on the western edge of Venice’s historic center, next to the Ponte della Libertà (the road causeway and railroad bridge to the mainland). Venice’s central station serves 30 million visitors a year.

 

By car:

No cars, scooters or bicycles are allowed in the historical center at all. The last place for parking these vehicols is Piazzale Roma. The parking space is not free, on the contrary, the services are quite expensive, amounting to several tens of euros per day. To avoid high parking costs and traffic jams, it’s best to park in Mestre – the mainland town connected to Venice by rail and road bridges over the lagoon.

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